The Chicago Archdiocese has offically flipped it's lid

Let’s see. We’ve grown in sophistication as a species, edging away from supersitition and fear, helping people throughout the world lift out of ignorance.

And the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago has just hired an exorcist, even though, by their own admission, there hasn’t been any demand before the exorcist was hired.

What the freak?

So basically, instead of getting a person with a severe mental or physical problem the appropriate care, we’ll perform religious rituals to “expel demons.” Oh, yeah, that’ll clear up the mis-firing synapse problem reeaal quick.

I anticipate a nice wave of crackpots bringing in unfortunate relatives over the next few years. Bernadin (former Cardinal of Chicago) would never have stood for this level of mysticism.

My understanding is that every dioscese (or some other subdivision) of the Catholic church is required to have someone who has been trained in Rome to perform exorcisms. The only change is this guy is hired as a full-timer. So more of a change in degree. Oh yeah, I understand policy is for exorcists to work in concert with licensed health professionals.
But, its not my club, so I’m no expert.

They’re only taking their cue from the top.

This, from Newsweek this week.

If I’m the Pope, I’m not performing an exorcism. Failure doesn’t look good. Kind of like when your ace pitcher gets beaten like a drum - doesn’t bode too well for the rest of the team.

Shaky Jake

Great, we’re taking advice from a guy who instead of calling paramedics, decided to try his hand at an exorcism. Lovely.

I heard just the end of that story, about the Pope doing an exorcism, on the news the other day. I wasn’t sure I heard right so I didn’t dare raise it here as an item.

Unbelievable. Doesn’t the Pope have a good PR person who would prevent him from doing something this ridiculous? My understanding is that they picked this girl out of a crowd for reasons unknown to me and spent a half hour in private with her trying to exorcise her demons. Ummm… who was the professional psycho-analyst in that room who made the clinical assesment of possession? Talk about your negative publicity.

If this had been a story involving anyone but the Pope, it would have been a laughing stock. As it was, the story just quietly faded without further mention.

Ya know, the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced it was just a marketing tie-in for the re-release of The Exorcist. A little kick-back from the studio, what with indulgences selling at an all-time low. Maybe he’s even got a little Linda Blair thing. Hmmm, Chained Heat…Linda, in prison.
Shaky Jake

Thanks you, Shaky, for chuckling me down from my indignation! :slight_smile:

Check out

Gee, if I were possessed by Satan, I’d hate to have someone who was picking up a little vacation money as a part-time exorcist. You get what you pay for.

What does it say on a part-time exorcist’s business card?

Joe Smith
I also kick evil spirits’ asses.

I’ve seen this where I work. But it ain’t a church… it’s mental health unit. And we have to restrain people quite often. Didn’t realize we were working with demons.

Well at least now I’ll know who to call next time I need a good exorcist.

BTW, When’s the next gathering of Ohio dopers?

You mean as opposed to someone being pronounced incurably mentally ill and spending the rest of their life forced to take highly toxic drugs, possibly by force in an institution? Or how about electroconvulsive therapy? There’s a real enlightened approach.

The “mental health” profession hasn’t come as far as it likes us to believe it has.

Even in the middle ages, the Church wouldn’t undertake an exorcism until the local priest or bishop had ruled out insanity or “melancholy”.

Personally, I wonder how many people there are in psychiatric wards, being pumped full of drugs, or having their brains fried with electrical currents, when they are, in fact, possessed.

It’s rare, but it does happen.

I’m personally glad to see that the Church hasn’t completely abandoned a belief in the supernatural.

It does happen, in the sense that these unfortunate individuals, many of them mis-diagnosed, have been shuffled into their own little corner. We don’t need to invoke an out-dated religious belief of “possession” to explain their problems.

Which would be fine, except that there is no scientific proof of the “supernatural” or “possession.” In dealing with a mental disease, we use the scientific method to do our best in diagnosing and treating the problem. Just because we, sadly, don’t have the capabilities to cure or even treat everybody doesn’t mean we should resort to a metaphysical ritual that has no chance, besides a placebo effect, of diminishing the unfortunate person’s mental or physical malady on damn bit.

The mental health industry does have, of course, excesses and quacks of its own. However, considering the advances in our understanding of the mind and of the body, I’ll take those quacks over some bozo with a censer anyday.

Oddly enough, as even Blatty stated in his novel “The Exorcist,” the CHurch declared as far back as the Council of Trent that exorcism should be attempted only after all medical explanations for a “possession” had been ruled out.

I know many priests here in Austin TX, and I’ve actually discussed this subject with a few of them. NONE of them know how to perform an exorcism, none of them KNOWS any clergymen trained to do it, and all find the subject vaguely embarrassing (understandably).

Now, as a Catholic, I believe in all sorts of things that many people find absurd. But demonic possession is way beyond my limits. MOST Catholic theologians now think that when the Gospels speak of Jesus “casting out demons,” he was healing people afflicted with epilepsy, Tourette’s Syndrome, and similar afflictions.

What’s interesting is, virtually all cases of “demonic possession” involve adolescent or pre-adolescent girls and they’re usually from Latin American or Philippino Catholic backgrounds. That brings up a question: assuming that Satan can and does go around possessing people, why is it always young girls? Why not middle-aged men? Why not grandmothers?

Heck, why always CATHOLICS? In theory, Satan could just as easily possess an atheist, a Buddhist or a Scientologist. He could possess Japanese businessmen, Jewish accountants… why is it always young girls from cultures that have long mixed Catholicism with native, pagan spirit religions?

I’m not prepared to say that exorcisms should NEVER be performed, but I’m inclined to think it’s usually a waste of time, and makes the Church look silly.

Astorian, thank you for summarizing my feelings on this matter very succintly. My only disagreement is that I don’t believe in possession in the first place (somehow, I don’t see Shaitan wasting his time on such an over the top endeavour), so I don’t see teh need for an exorcism in any instance.

Thanks especially for corraborating my remeberances on modern Catholic theology and Jesus healing medical diseases. I remembered this, but didn’t have a cite, so I left it out. Ah, the wonders of going to a Jesuit high school…

Q: Why has Satan never possessed a woman from Oklahoma?

A: Because He’s evil, not hard up.